When disaster strikes, technology can often be put to good use. Following the devastating earthquake that struck Nepal this week, Google and Facebook are among the companies helping those in the area, as well as people looking for friends and relatives.
Google's People Finder does very much what it says on the tin. It's a very simple website that enables people to publish requests for information about loved ones, as well as giving those with information somewhere to share it. Facebook's Nepal Earthquake Safety Check provides a similar feature.
Google People Finder can be accessed through mobile devices or computers, and also includes an SMS function to improved accessibility. If you're concerned about someone you know in the area you can search through the People Finder database for information, but if you have information about someone you can add details yourself. Google points out that it "does not review or verify the accuracy of this data."
At the same time, Facebook has launched its Safety Check feature for the earthquake. Like Google's feature, it works two ways. Visit the website and Facebook will let you know if any of the people you are connected to are in the area. If you have had contact from them, you can indicate that they are safe to put others' minds at rest.
Writing on Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg said: "This morning we activated Safety Check for people affected by the earthquake in Nepal. It's a simple way to let family and friends know you're okay.
"If you're in one of the areas affected by the earthquake, you'll get a notification asking if you're safe, and whether you want to check on any of your friends.
"When disasters happen, people need to know their loved ones are safe. It's moments like this that being able to connect really matters. My thoughts are with everyone who's been caught up in this tragedy."
The Safety Check tool can also be used by people in the area to broadcast the fact that they are OK.